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Knowledge Update

Is the Caucus of Strategic Management and Leadership in Entrepreneurship the 21 century human needs cure?

The convergence of strategic thinking which is a component of strategic management, envisioning leadership and the adoption of socio-impactful entrepreneurship has never been real than in contemporary times. Across the generations of human beings (from the silent, the boomers, Generation X, Generation Y or the Millennials, Generation Z, and now the i-Generation), the configuration of this triune has proven to be real and helpful in providing solutions as per each generations’ expectations.

The order of the triune from my perspective begins from the leadership with an urge and push for growth, sustainability expectations and an unending desire to translate an idea into tangible outcomes. This spurs entrepreneurship, be it social or innovative entrepreneurship. The convergence of the triune, i.e., strategic management, leadership and entrepreneurship, has not just been empty rhetoric, governments and organizations have taken it further by the introduction of laboratories, think tanks, business incubation centers, venture capitalism, putting in place legal and other infrastructural frameworks to facilitate angel funding and other activities related to the triune. Governments world over organize globally for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) with the intention of tapping into the global phenomenon of showcasing, promoting, exchanging and selling ideas for business action in different sectors. Examples of these are for instance the Dubai EXPO, the ALAMOS alliance conference in Latin America in 2019, the Block Chain EXPO 2021 in North America, Africa Knows conference in 2021 etc.

The 21st-century global citizen is beset by a myriad of issues, key of which have been well documented by the United Nations under the banner of sustainable millennium goals (SDGs). These 17 goals were adopted by the UN’s general assembly under the concept of ‘leaving no one behind’. Though different countries have different priorities, all of these are closely pinpointed to the triune of leadership, strategic thinking as part of strategic management which eventually results in entrepreneurship. The operationalization of the same is not only left to the governments alone but also to other non-government affiliated organizations, like private entities, schools and even higher education institutions (HEI). For example, ENACTUS through partnerships with universities and colleges, and for-profit business entities, has been able to tap on localized student ideas to develop means, mechanisms and solutions to different communities all over the world. Another example is ‘Beyond the Grid’ which leverages Power Africa's model of innovation which is a transaction-focused model aimed at galvanizing collaboration, engaging in critical actions aimed at connecting and providing power to the unconnected masses in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa. A further example is eco-business in the entire of Asia through which several ideas have been developed and implemented, for example, solar bottle lights in South East Asia, passive cooling architecture (The Floating Leaf) in Indonesia, the use of carbon emissions out of industries in order to grow microalgae in Thailand, the use of deep technological solutions for energy efficiency in hotels in Singapore which use a lot of energy, to big data solutions, etc., — all these ideas are focused on smart business and have been proven successful due to focused leadership.

Contemporary business organizations have taken it upon themselves to invest in research and development, innovating and inventing new offers to their clients. The transition and transformation of many organizations from brick and mortar to borderless virtual organizations through digitization and digitalization is bringing efficiencies with a promise of sustainability and overall customer satisfaction. The 4IR has taken business processes by storm and this has warranted leadership with foresight. Given this leadership foresight and dynamics in the world of business, many businesses with the thirst to remain competitive have escalated the concept of entrepreneurship into the concept of intrapreneurship. The onus of invention and innovation is no longer under the custodianship of previous research and development as it was previously. Every employee is mandated to look for ways of bringing efficiency and thinking through the process of carrying out their task with the question of, ‘what extra value is my input adding into the process of doing this task?’ In every corner of the globe, these innovations by organizations are proving to be critical to serving humanity. From mpesa virtual money transactions by Safaricom in Kenya, medical delivery drones in Rwanda and Ghana, digital dairy farming in Netherlands and Denmark, to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Analytics in India, Korea, China and other Asian countries among other inventions, many organizations are at the forefront of developing utility technology platforms to remain relevant, competitive and profitable.                           

Business disruptions and unmitigated changes require a focused leader, who will quickly identify opportunities for growth or for mitigating sudden losses. The place of strategic management may not be compromised by sudden changes in an organized rather due to one of its components, i.e., crisis management, it would take an organization through the thought process of business continuity. This is what happened mostly to many businesses when COVD 19 Pandemic struck. During the COVID 19 era, many organizations not only strategized through business process re-engineering, lean sigma 6 and value stream mapping, but they also revamped their supply chain management. The dynamism brought about by the 4IR is set to succeed only when the triune of leadership, strategic management and entrepreneurship is the core of any business organization. Human beings are in the wake of discovering outer space, as far as mars, this is closely followed by business interests, which is clearly in conformity with clear and focused business leadership and vision, long term thinking and entrepreneurial orientation. Today due to such, human beings are thinking of colonizing mars, mars is not like earth, it can’t sustain life by any means, this requires leadership, strategic thinking and entrepreneurship to answer the question of how to. This caucus, the triune of strategic management (which entails, scanning the environment, strategic thinking, adoption and implementation of big data and AI and RPA), leadership with great vision and entrepreneurship, seems to be the only answer to the issues bedeviling society and colonizing mars of regardless business dynamism.

Strategic Decision Making Techniques to achieve sustainable Marketing and Business Growth

Managers today play a role of fire fighting in daily business operations which need numerous tactical and strategic issues to encounter and solve. The decision-making process is primarily influenced by individual-based approach and varies between individuals. Thus, the outcomes of the process vary and provide mixed results such as positive, neutral, or negative. Such outcomes create an imbalance in any organization’s performance. So, how should an organization negate such risk to achieve uniformity in outcomes? Is there any decision-making technique available to ensure continuous positive outcomes? If so, how can an organization find and acclimatize its decision-making to ensure positive performance? The aforesaid questions may seem to be naïve or unbelievable to achieve. However, the following decision-making techniques would provide a much-needed cue to the organizations to work towards achieving better performance. Is there any possibility to standardize the decision-making process and ensure uniformity in outcomes? It is possible provided the standard techniques are used. However, the outcomes may not be 100% uniform and accurate, but are essential to guide the organization to the right direction in achieving expected performance. The decision-making techniques could be used for different levels of decisions such as routine, tactical, and strategic. However, the decision-making process follows a top-down approach in most of the cases as it focuses primarily on commencing a process with strategic decisions, then leading to tactical and routine decisions which are operational in nature. Though most of the organizations tend more on strategic decisions, however, the performance is measured through effective tactical and routine decisions which are part of daily operations. Therefore, the decision-making techniques should focus all the aspects of decision making to ensure the successful outcomes. Considering different decision making techniques, it is imperative to incorporate the techniques which are inclusive in nature and provide the maximum performance output.

Instinct driven decision-making technique is the one most of us use in our daily life based on our instincts. Instincts are generally stimulated through our minds, and we execute the decisions accordingly. Sometimes, it could be a ‘reflex decision-making’ and spontaneous to provide solutions on the spot. However, most of the outcomes from this technique may not produce the expected results, and at times, far more damaging and counterproductive. It could be best used for routine decisions in which outcomes may not have a greater impact on the organization’s performance or future.  Successful managers tend to avoid instinct-driven decision-making as the outcomes are highly unpredictable and counterproductive. However, it could be used in routine situations which may not require high-level thinking and information processing. The managers avoid this technique due to its unpredictable nature and erratic outcomes.

Data driven decision-making technique is one of the most popular decision making techniques that managers use for strategic and tactical decisions. It could provide the expected results which are highly supported by the appropriate data. However, it throws a challenge to the managers as using faulty or in appropriate data to make decisions can lead to fatal outcomes. Therefore,  managers need to use their experience in assessing the relevancy of the data and gauge the current situation to take wise decisions. Data provides a support to make decisions and it is not appropriate to make decisions only using the data. It is highly imperative to use the data in sync with the current situation to make the decisions that can lead to the expected outcomes. Hence, the experience of managers proves to be very vital at this point. Appropriate data, in addition to experience, is necessary to make sound decisions. Managers need to make appropriate decisions through relevant data and experience ought to be applicable to the given situation.

Experience driven decision-making technique is one of the high-level decision-making technique which is individualistic in nature. It varies according to the experience and expertise of the managers in encountering numerous situations and offer appropriate decisions. It is highly useful in tactical situations provided that the managers have appropriate experience to tackle such situations and make wise decisions. However, it may not be suitable for all the managers as it is unique and different. It is also difficult to standardize the use of this technique as it depends on the managers who use this technique to make decisions. It is imperative for the organization to do a hands on experiment to test the outcomes of this technique through assessing different managers who use this technique and calculate the probability of the outcomes based on the attempts made. Such an experiment would provide a matrix to the top-level management to understand the efficacy of this technique through mapping with individual managers. Based on the outcomes, the organization can encourage the highly successful managers to train the other managers to gain expertise using this technique. This technique could be used for all levels of decisions, however, more useful towards tactical and strategic decisions.

Neuro driven decision making technique is one of the innovative decision making techniques that incur a comprehensive process to make decisions. It could be called a ‘Combined or Hybrid’ decision-making technique which includes all the different techniques discussed above. The managers need to consciously practice to gain expertise in using this technique and need to train the neurons in their brains by providing numerous inputs such as data, experiential learning (personal and others), assessing and assimilating with current situations, ability to predict and foresee the impact through the decisions made, to name a few. This technique needs a very high level of practice to ensure the accuracy of the outcomes. It could be used for all levels of decisions and more useful for strategic and tactical decisions. The organizations could encourage the managers to practice this technique to gain expertise which could prove beneficial to achieve success and growth.

In a nutshell, the managers need to gain expertise in all of the aforesaid techniques and should decide which one is better based on the current situation and expected impact on the organization’s performance. This article does not provide a foolproof recipe for decision-making, however, it provides a way to work and gain expertise through different decision-making techniques that could be used for achieving successful and sustainable marketing and business growth.